Self-employment

Published

Last updated 9 November 2020 - see all updates

1. Main facts and figures

  • in 2018, 15.1% of workers in the UK were self-employed
  • 20.4% of workers in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group were self-employed, the highest percentage out of all ethnic groups
  • 11.2% of Black workers were self-employed, the lowest percentage out of all ethnic groups

2. Things you need to know

What the data measures

The data shows the percentage of people aged 16 or over who are self-employed, by ethnicity.

A person is self-employed if they run their business for themselves, either as a sole trader or director of their own company.

Percentages have been rounded to the nearest whole number, so some totals may not add up to 100%.

Not included in the data

Data based on fewer than 3 responses have been withheld from results for all groups. This is to protect respondents’ confidentiality, and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.

The ethnic groups used in the data

The data uses the ethnic categories from the 2011 Census.

Data is aggregated for the Black, Mixed and Other ethnic groups, which means estimates are shown for these groups as a whole.

Data is shown separately for White British people and all other White people (‘White Other’ ethnic group). Separate figures are also shown for 3 different Asian ethnic groups (Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi combined, and Asian Other)

Methodology

Read the detailed methodology document for the data used on this page.

The data for this analysis comes from the Annual Population Survey. Find out more about:

In the data file

See download the data for:

  • data from 2011
  • confidence intervals – read more about how we use confidence intervals to determine the reliability of survey data

3. By ethnicity over time

Percentage of working people aged 16 and over who are self-employed, by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
% % % % % % % %
All 13.9 14.4 14.5 14.8 14.8 15.3 15.2 15.1
Asian 14.6 16.0 15.8 15.4 16.3 16.9 17.1 15.8
Indian 11.6 13.2 13.7 12.2 13.7 14.1 12.8 13.2
Pakistani, Bangladeshi 21.6 23.0 20.7 21.1 21.9 22.2 24.1 20.4
Asian Other 12.2 12.8 13.2 13.8 14.0 15.1 15.2 13.9
Black 8.2 10.1 10.0 10.4 11.0 10.8 12.3 11.2
Mixed 11.8 11.8 11.3 14.9 11.4 14.6 13.7 11.4
White 14.0 14.4 14.5 14.8 14.8 15.2 15.1 15.1
White British 13.8 14.1 14.2 14.6 14.6 14.9 14.8 14.9
White Other 16.6 17.6 17.4 16.7 17.0 17.9 17.6 17.2
Other 18.1 17.7 17.1 20.2 16.2 18.2 17.2 19.0

Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)

Summary of Self-employment By ethnicity over time Summary

This data shows that:

  • from 2011 to 2018, there was an increase in self-employment from 13.9% to 15.1% of all workers
  • in 2018, self-employment was most common in the combined Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnic group, where 20.4% of workers were self-employed
  • self-employment was least common in the Black ethnic group, where 11.2% of workers were self-employed
  • although the percentage of self-employed rises or falls for some ethnic groups, these figures may not represent the wider population because of the small number of people surveyed

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Note on corrections or updates

Higher-level figures may differ from those published by the Department for Work and Pensions and the Office for National Statistics that use the Labour Force Survey.

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is the largest ongoing household survey in the UK and covers a range of topics, including:

  • personal characteristics
  • labour market status
  • work characteristics
  • education
  • health

The purpose of the APS is to provide information on important social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.

The published statistics also allow the government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between censuses.

5. Download the data

Self Employment - Spreadsheet (csv) 7 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, denominator, numerator and confidence interval figure